Christian History Timeline: The Conversion of Scandinavia


c.710Willibrord unsuccessfully attempts to convert the Danes

793 Vikings attack Celtic monastery at Lindesfarne

790s Viking raids on western Europe, Scotland, and Ireland

826Ansgar journeys to Denmark and to Birka, Sweden (829—31), to evangelize

841 First wintering of Vikings in Ireland

845 Pagan revolt forces missionaries to abandon Birka

859 Vikings enter the Mediterranean

865Ansgar dies, succeeded by Rimbert

870 Vikings kill the king of East Anglia, Edmund (later St. Edmund)

c.870 Norse begin to settle Iceland

Other Events

800 Coronation of the Emperor Charlemagne

c.800 Irish hermits settle in the Faeroe Islands and Iceland

862 Brothers Cyril and Methodius go as missionaries to Moravia

864 Boris I of Bulgaria converts


902 Vikings expelled from Dublin

911 Founding of Normandy by Viking chieftain Rollo

930 Founding of the Icelandic Althing at Thingvellir

c.934 Hakon the Good becomes king of Norway and soon attempts to convert his country to Christianity

948 Bishops appointed to Hedeby, Ribe, and Arhus in Denmark

954 Erik Bloodaxe, son of Harald Finehair, expelled from York and killed at the battle of Stainmore

958 Gorm the Old, king of Denmark, buried at Jelling by his son, Harald Bluetooth

c.965 Harald Bluetooth of Denmark converts

980 Renewed Viking attacks on England

c.985 Erik the Red settles in Greenland

c.995 Olof Skötkonung, king of Sweden, converts to Christianity

995 Olaf Trygvesson unites Norway under Christian banner

Other Events

963 First monastic settlement on Mt. Athos

980 Mainz Cathedral begun

c.988 Prince Vladmir of Kiev baptized


1000 Olaf Trygvesson dies in the Battle of Svold; Iceland converts to Christianity

c.1000 Leif Eriksson voyages to Vinland in North America

1013 Danish king Svein Forkbeard conquers England, succeeded by his son Knut the Great (1016)

1021 Bishopric established at Skara

1027 First Scandinavian stone church built at Roskilde, Denmark

1030 Olaf Haraldsson, later St. Olaf, dies in the Battle of Stiklestad

c.1050 Bishopric established on the Orkney Islands

1053 Hamburg-Bremen archbishopric granted authority over Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Danes, and Svear

1056 First bishopric in Iceland, at Skalholt

1067 Ari Thorgilsson, historian of Iceland, is born

1070 Adam of Bremen describes the pagan temple at Uppsala, Sweden

c.1070 Urnes stave church built in Luster, Norway

Other Events

1054 Great Schism; eastern and western branches of Christendom excommunicate one another

1066 Battle of Hastings; the Norman conquest of England (last major event of the Age of Vikings)

1093 Anselm becomes archbishop of Canterbury

1095 Pope Urban II preaches the First Crusade


1104 Archbishopric for Scandinavia established at Lund, Sweden

c.1110 Public celebration of pagan rites at Uppsala ended

1117 Magnus, patron saint of Orkney, murdered

c.1125 Bishopric established at Gardar, Greenland

1157 Eric IX and Henry, bishop of Uppsala, embark on a crusade to convert Finland

1178 Snorri Sturluson, Icelandic poet and historian, is born

Other Events

1115 Bernard founds monastery at Clairvaux

1141 Hildegard of Bingen first writes about her visions

c.1150 Universities of Paris and Bologna founded

1170 Thomas Becket assassinated

1182 Francis of Assisi born

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #63 in 1999]

Next articles

Conversion of the Vikings: The Gallery — Power Evangelism Checked

The stories of three Viking rulers and their encounters with Christianity.

Georgia L. Beaverson

Greenland: Father-Son Saga

The story of Erik the Red, his son Leif (the famous explorer) and the most misnamed of Viking Islands.

Roger McKnight

Sweden: Faith Without the Fireworks

The conversion of Sweden is unspectacular—and for that reason most illuminating.

Mark Galli

Iceland: Althings Work to the Good

At a legislative Althing, a pagan judge prevented civil war in Iceland by converting everyone to Christianity.

James Marchand
Show more

Subscribe to magazine

Subscription to Christian History magazine is on a donation basis


Support us

Christian History Institute (CHI) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. Your donations support the continuation of this ministry


Subscribe to daily emails

Containing today’s events, devotional, quote and stories